Medical Industry Resists Phasing Out Radioactive Material

Global Security Newswire Staff
May 13, 2014, 8:09 a.m.

Gov­ern­ment ef­forts to elim­in­ate the com­mer­cial use of a ra­dio­act­ive ma­ter­i­al deemed a se­cur­ity risk have run in­to op­pos­i­tion from the med­ic­al sec­tor.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion an­nounced earli­er this year that it would work to phase out com­mer­cial ap­plic­a­tions of a num­ber of ra­dio­act­ive sub­stances that could be used to build a so-called “dirty bomb.” Such a weapon would use con­ven­tion­al ex­plos­ives to dis­perse pois­on­ous ra­dio­act­ive ma­ter­i­al over a wide area.

Among the com­mon com­mer­cial sub­stances tar­geted for elim­in­a­tion is cesi­um chlor­ide. The gov­ern­ment is try­ing to con­vince hos­pit­als and blood banks in the coun­try to cease us­ing ir­ra­di­at­or ma­chines that con­tain cesi­um chlor­ide and in­stead use X-ray ir­ra­di­at­ors to make sure blood is safe for trans­fu­sion. The gov­ern­ment is weigh­ing us­ing grants and oth­er in­duce­ments to en­cour­age the move away from cesi­um chlor­ide ir­ra­di­at­ors, uniden­ti­fied of­fi­cials and spe­cial­ists told the Bo­ston Globe for a Monday art­icle.

In ad­di­tion to be­ing ex­tremely ra­dio­act­ive, cesi­um chlor­ide is also dis­solv­able in wa­ter. These char­ac­ter­ist­ics make the ma­ter­i­al “a great­er con­cern than oth­er ra­di­ation sources,” ac­cord­ing to a 2008 find­ing by the Na­tion­al Re­search Coun­cil.

However, some med­ic­al pro­fes­sion­als and com­pan­ies are res­ist­ing the urged change on the grounds that the new­er X-ray ir­ra­di­at­ors are too ex­pens­ive and more prone too break­ing down.

“X-ray ir­ra­di­at­ors break with reg­u­lar aban­don, so of course you have to buy two,” said Jed Gorlin, vice pres­id­ent of med­ic­al and qual­ity af­fairs at In­nov­at­ive Blood Re­sources in St. Paul, Minn.

Miles Pom­per, a seni­or re­search as­so­ci­ate at the James Mar­tin Cen­ter for Non­pro­lif­er­a­tion Stud­ies, said that fin­an­cial motives are a sig­ni­fic­ant con­trib­ut­ing factor to the res­ist­ance.

“There are go­ing to be win­ners and losers,” Pom­per said. “The people who only make cesi­um chlor­ide aren’t go­ing to like it.”

MOST READ
What We're Following See More »
PROCEDURES NOT FOLLOWED
Trump Not on Ballot in Minnesota
3 days ago
THE LATEST
MOB RULE?
Trump on Immigration: ‘I Don’t Know, You Tell Me’
3 days ago
THE LATEST

Perhaps Donald Trump can take a plebiscite to solve this whole messy immigration thing. At a Fox News town hall with Sean Hannity last night, Trump essentially admitted he's "stumped," turning to the audience and asking: “Can we go through a process or do you think they have to get out? Tell me, I mean, I don’t know, you tell me.”

Source:
BIG CHANGE FROM WHEN HE SELF-FINANCED
Trump Enriching His Businesses with Donor Money
5 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.

Source:
QUESTIONS OVER IMMIGRATION POLICY
Trump Cancels Rallies
5 days ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump probably isn't taking seriously John Oliver's suggestion that he quit the race. But he has canceled or rescheduled rallies amid questions over his stance on immigration. Trump rescheduled a speech on the topic that he was set to give later this week. Plus, he's also nixed planned rallies in Oregon and Las Vegas this month.

Source:
‘STRATEGY AND MESSAGING’
Sean Hannity Is Also Advising Trump
6 days ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump's Fox News brain trust keeps growing. After it was revealed that former Fox chief Roger Ailes is informally advising Trump on debate preparation, host Sean Hannity admitted over the weekend that he's also advising Trump on "strategy and messaging." He told the New York Times: “I’m not hiding the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. I never claimed to be a journalist.”

Source:
×